Today I was on the subway in the middle of the afternoon, and an elderly couple got on a few stops after me. There were plenty of seats available, but they decided instead to stand together near the doors.
Now, I have to admit, the elderly -- like, the super duper elderly -- kind of freak me out. It's not because of anything they do, and of course it's not their fault they are like that (wrinkled, like old rotten apples), but I think being in the presence of the very geriatric makes me nervous. I look at their liver-spotted, cadaver-like hands and the way they roll down their support hose until it's practically stuck inside their fat orthopedic shoes, and I develop a wicked tic and feel like a trapped rat in a cage. I see my future -- of mashed bananas and stool softeners and hearing aids and irritated younger relatives always having to repeat themselves -- and I am horrified by it. Truly horrified. I don't want to go out like that.
But. This couple was somehow different. I couldn't help but watch them.
If you put aside the teased, brown-dyed cotton swab of hair that sat upon her head, held up in a frizzled bun with a decorative antique comb, and the stained dentures that were fastened to his gums with what looked to be a painful bit of rusted wire, this couple was damned cute.
They stood face to face and and leaned into each other with that familiar, loving absentmindedness that you see in couples who have been together for so long. He had a protective arm around her waist, and he kept putting his cheek to hers in order to whisper things. She would look up at him and laugh. Like, a laugh that was honest and unabashed. I bet he'd been hearing that same laugh for 50 years and it still surprised and delighted him. She looked decades younger when she laughed.
You don't think of old folks as still having it for each other, right? But boy, these two did.
And it made me feel all gushy inside.
I pictured them doing this.
Just kidding! Hee hee!!!
2 days ago